Film Festival Preview: Undefeated

Film Festival Preview: Undefeated

Directors: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin

A “sports documentary” which is about much, much more than sport, Undefeated is a heartwarming story of personal relationships, struggles, and American football. Before coach Bill Courtney arrived at Manassas high school, their football team had been on a losing streak for as long as anyone could remember. A public school in an impoverished area of Memphis, Tennessee, Manassas lacks the financial resources to put into their football programme. However, Coach Courtney proves that financial resources are not what makes a football team great. Rather, greatness is a product of discipline, character, and dedication. Courtney’s philosophy is that if a team is made up of men with these traits, they will succeed, and not just through pure athletic talent.

Undefeated follows the team through their sixth season with Courtney. And his football-osophy seems to have worked — the team is actually winning some games, although members of the team are facing other problems off the field. Chavis has just been released from a youth penitentiary and is dealing with anger management issues, OC is a strong candidate for college football scholarships but is dealing with the academic side of life, and Money is a bright student uncertain about his future because of financial constraints. Courtney, a no-nonsense blokey type, becomes just as invested in the future of these young men as he is in the team’s success, and acts as a father figure and mentor.

Despite having almost zero interest in football or sport in general, I can’t recommend the film enough. The cinematography team even manage to make the barbaric American sport look almost beautiful.

15th, 18th, 19th August - Rialto Cinema
This article first appeared in Issue 17, 2012.
Posted 10:46am Sunday 22nd July 2012 by Sarah Baillie .